A new initiative is set to increase British consumption of Cornish seafood.

Fishermen, fishmongers and chefs are coming together in a bid to get more people to eat seasonal, locally caught fish and shellfish.

According to Defra’s latest figures, most people in the UK are only eating around half the amount of seafood recommended by health professionals with many still favouring imported fish, like cod, tuna and salmon.

Seafood Cornwall, the consumer arm of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, is forming cross-supply chain focus groups for under-appreciated, species found in Cornish waters.

Chris Ranford, CEO of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, said: “We want to encourage more people to eat seasonal, British caught seafood. As the UK’s hotspot for seafood, due to the synergy between fishing, tourism and hospitality, Cornwall is in the best position to spearhead this initiative.

“The aim is to bring each part of the supply chain together to find viable solutions to improving accessibility to this highly nutritious sustainable food source.”

The project is starting with spider crab, better known as Cornish king crab, which is caught in Cornish waters between April and August.

Formerly known as ‘spider crab’, it was renamed in 2021 in a bid to improve its popularity in the domestic market.

While UK sales have increased since then, around 85% of Cornish king crab landed here is still exported to Europe, according to shellfish wholesaler, W Harvey & Sons.

W Harvey & Sons have been selling Cornish king crab since the 1950s and are now offering the product pre-picked to encourage an uptick in sales.

William Harvey of W Harvey & Sons, said: “Cornish king crab still isn’t as sought after as brown crab and lobster which is a shame because it’s an amazing product. I think culturally we’re so used to eating brown crab we don’t often consider an alternative. If you like brown crab there’s no reason why you won’t love Cornish king crab. It would be of huge benefit to Cornwall’s economy if we sold more of them here.”

To encourage more Brits to support the fishing industry and try Cornish king crab this season, restaurants and cafes across Cornwall have pledged to put it on their menu for British Sandwich Week, this week (May 20-27).

Jude Kereama, owner and patron chef at Kota and Kota Kai restaurants in Porthleven, said: “We’re supporting the Cornish king crab push because using local ingredients is really important to us and it’s a great product.

“We have some of the best produce in the whole UK here in Cornwall, the best farmers, the best fishermen and the best variety of fish. It’s fantastic that we have it all on our doorstep. I love Cornish king crab; we’re going to be putting it on our menus as much as we can.”